Poem in Which

Dieter (don’t ask) says: “What’s it like on the moon Buzz? What’s it like on
the moon? Is it like, a-drawn? Like with, a-pencil?

What’s it like on the moon Buzz? Tell us, tell us!”

“We left our detritus on it,” says Buzz miserably, “we left our preposterous colours.”
And Dieter looks neither plussed nor nonplussed.

“We left our flag on it,” Buzz continues, and he mumbles:
“and our shame,” and then even more quietly: “We took a goddamn dump on it,”

and then he lowers his orange-tinted visor with his chunky-gloved fingers
and bows his head.

When Buzz does eventually look up, Dieter sees his own reflection
dressed in its earthling costume coming back at him like an admonishment in the glass’s

delicious curve.

And then Dieter turns to me, and-and-and Buzz turns to me too,
the lickable-kissable bowl of that head of his

all leant up towards me.

He’s smiling I think, a joyous full smile beneath the helmet’s atmosphere.
What an impertinent fish he is, looking up at a kindly though enormously hungry heron!

Mark Waldron


Poem in Which The Panic Is Obvious

I’m flaking formally
gutterballs and backmares
edging slowly towards the moon
medusa legged with rupture
I thought you would be happy about:
coma diamonds
my glad rags already ripped
waiting for a loveless dish
to flutter me in the butter
kaleidoscope days
internet rhythmed
the slapped seal of crisis?
medicine and crimes against ourselves?
panic is obvious
the volume is broken
I can’t keep it up
the candle hot talk
and salt sessions
we can’t all be trendsetters
I’m wobbly in liquid
I’ll entice then behave
a witchy mouth
causing a stormquake
& at the end of the day
it always happens when
you least expect it

Nisha Bhakoo

Poem in Which They Mine the Sun

They scratch the sun from the ridge
like coal, like scrub-pine knots, like the roof
of Sloan’s Garage, the alley that burns
into a police car, pigeons that saunter
across this small grease pit where you trap them.

Your jacket smolders. It’s like most of the sky
pushed from orbit. It talks to you, then me,
like a news anchor witnessing a camera exploding.

You say your grampa who never mined coal
has black lung, has sciatica, bird-flu, weasels
in his ears. They scratch him out of the ground
to tell you. They scratch us out of the ground
to watch the sun roll backwards like a yellow eye
sucked from an egg.

Clyde Kessler

Poem in Which I Am A Geode

I still haven’t turned into a ladybug
but woke up                                  as a geode

swimming across                       an over-saturated lake
where nothing reeks of piss: or of fish: or of lake––
it smells like                   peach iced tea
my vision magnified                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               & blurred
as if warped through                                  yellow starfish:
everything sweet & light                       & sweet & light              like a sun:

a sun englobed by a geode

I am a geode                     as big as my previous body:
occasionally                                                   I crash and rattle
against rocks                 who are less valuable                       than I am.
Everything glitters as if kissed with consciousness
and my skin is still skin
but without structure                                                       or melanin.

How to erase consciousness
if I am still as big
as my previous body
& heavier & more accountable                      & if I must float
across the river.                Quick, quicker.       You say:
geode geode, decelerate

But have you ever lived inside a volcano?

Consciousness is nothing                                   but a nacreous scale on the tail
of the rainbow fish
or the light that escapes                                       my center.
If I had to say two words                                   for the rest of my life
they would not be
                                                           consciousness, consciousness.

Nor would they be
                                                                                     geode geode––
they would be
                                                                     particle accelerator

Aria Aber

Poem in which a girl is dream house sitting

The man is 57, and one day,
standing in his study in her underwear
by the globe that is almost as tall as she is,
she calculates that he is 57 countries
away, depending on how you count them.
It is not her first bra, but the first
she has bought with her own money
and she wears nothing over it until late
into the day and when the sweaty UPS
man brings an antiquarian book to the door
she receives it so proudly that he does
not run his eyes all over her body and
when he gets back into the cab he thinks
of his wife and feels proud without knowing why.
Another day she is aimlessly patrolling
the half-kempt grounds of the estate,
when, under a row of naked, prickly,
arching trees, she finds what from a distance
appears to be a giant hedgehog, but
is in fact, less credibly, a sloth.
Surprise gives way to a new instinct
when she realises it is not quite yet dead.
She thinks vaguely about the Hunt which
trumpets through this land on occasion
as she scoops the sloth up. At the house
she nurses the sloth back to full recovery.
It is her first time house sitting. The man
Skypes her. She is eating pickled lemons
with pesto on water biscuits. He is satisfied
and eccentric. Everything, he says in a moment
of perfect synchronicity, in that beautiful fridge
is yours.

Gence Barbar

Poem in which I don’t get a Kanye West ticket

blow by blow of last evening:
stabbing at artichoke hearts
& a plate of insipid sausages trying
to come up with words to relate
to the flurry of conversation,
turning to her, at a quick glance
thinking ‘Marquez Almeida’ might
be meaningful Spanish as I settle for:
what do the words on your t-shirt mean?
‘oh no, it’s the name of a designer’
oops, I return to stabbing my sausages
it’s not easy to pretend your eyes aren’t
glazing over when twenty-three candles
are ablaze – chanting happy birthday while
bathroom doors shut for round 2 of coke
I remember now, that when one believes
the whole world is yours for the taking
all facts quickly fall in line to confirm that belief
so of course friday’s tickets for Kanye West
are too expensive, god, mainstream music
who wants to be in a queue at midnight anyway
but! getting your hands on every item from
the latest topshop collection is forever ~
fashion week has to be someone’s idea
of an inside joke, behind the curtains
someone is throwing empty beer cans
at voodoo dolls lined up inside a large tv screen:
heaven is 1080p & full of chinese subtitles,
where the popcorn flakes you spit out of the sky
drift ever so slowly towards Somerset House
& is mistaken by bloggers for ‘first snow’
meanwhile in the kitchen my flatmate says
the reason she wants to leave isn’t because a life
in London is impossible, ‘I could get a job here easily too,
you know, nepotism,’ I want to blush on her behalf
but instead I stay silent, I return to my room,
pull the silk blanket over my knees again,
hopelessly refreshing the ticketmaster page;
let us all float on in the insularity of our worlds

Natalie Chin


Poem in which I feed the golden calf

too scared to riddle / the jigsaw of his boyhood / too scared of detonating / marbles as bombs / too scared of / his wrists handcuffing my ankles / stirrups of scar & bone / a boy who wants to be pegged / who wants to be mummified / in broderie anglaise / rooms of coffin-shaped doorways / rooms of sandalwood snakes / rooms drowning / in thigh deep rubbing alcohol / fingers noosed against his jugular / soap bubble clouds popping / behind the tinsel of rain / flutter and throttle / his neck of wineglass stem / his song of a breaking bottle / too scared of shards / that will shred / his tongue down to ribbons of silk / too scared / of the poison ivy / that bloomed / in his mother’s milk

Scherezade Siobhan